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City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

Description via Amazon. A sweeping history of American cities and towns, and the utopian aspirations that shaped them, by one of America’s leading urban planners and scholars.

The first European settlers saw America as a paradise regained. The continent seemed to offer a God-given opportunity to start again and build the perfect community. Those messianic days are gone. But as Alex Krieger argues in City on a Hill, any attempt at deep understanding of how the country has developed must recognize the persistent and dramatic consequences of utopian dreaming. Even as ideals have changed, idealism itself has for better and worse shaped our world of bricks and mortar, macadam, parks, and farmland. As he traces this uniquely American story from the Pilgrims to the “smart city,” Krieger delivers a striking new history of our built environment.

The Puritans were the first utopians, seeking a New Jerusalem in the New England villages that still stand as models of small-town life. In the Age of Revolution, Thomas Jefferson dreamed of citizen farmers tending plots laid out across the continent in a grid of enlightened rationality. As industrialization brought urbanization, reformers answered emerging slums with a zealous crusade of grand civic architecture and designed the vast urban parks vital to so many cities today. The twentieth century brought cycles of suburban dreaming and urban renewal―one generation’s utopia forming the next one’s nightmare―and experiments as diverse as Walt Disney’s EPCOT, hippie communes, and Las Vegas.

Krieger’s compelling and richly illustrated narrative reminds us, as we formulate new ideals today, that we chase our visions surrounded by the glories and failures of dreams gone by.

  • ISBN

    9780674987999
  • Title

    City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present
  • Author

    Alex Krieger
  • Publisher

    Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press
  • Publication year

    2019
  • Binding

    Hardcover
  • Language

    English

City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

About this author
Cite: "City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present" 23 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/925116/city-on-a-hill-urban-idealism-in-america-from-the-puritans-to-the-present/> ISSN 0719-8884

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